This past Thursday, just after 12:30 P.M. La Porte County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to the 7000 north block of State Road (SR) 39, for a crash. Upon arrival, deputies learned one of the involved drivers was deceased. SR 39 was immediately closed for investigative purposes, the cleanup of the large debris field and for the removal of the involved vehicles. The crash investigation revealed a Toyota passenger vehicle, driven by 27 year old Ric Henriott of Walkerton, was traveling south on SR 39. Information was provided that Henriott was overtaking/passing other southbound SR 39 vehicles in the northbound lane. This portion of SR 39 is designated as a no passing zone for southbound vehicles. A Kenworth semi-tractor trailer combination, driven by 57 year old Paul Michaud, of Temperance, Michigan, was traveling north on SR 39 through a long curve. Michaud attempted to avoid the passenger vehicle driven by Henriott but was unable to do so. Following the collision, the passenger vehicle left the west side of the roadway coming to rest in a ditch. The semi-tractor trailer left the east side of the roadway, drove through the lawn of a residence and came to rest against a tree.
Henriott was ejected from the passenger vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Michaud was not injured. The investigation has ruled out alcohol as being a factor in the crash. After approximately a six hour closure, SR 39 was reopened.